1972 was not one of Winton Rovers' best years.


It was not until the last five minutes (of this game on 25 March 1972) that Beith really settled the issue.
  The two reams were evenly matched with defences on top and the forwards did not get much chance to shine.  Bill Millar and Balmer were combining well and Millar came close in the tenth minute with a great header but it was Winton who scored first.  In the fifteenth minute, a cross from the left got the Beith defenders into a fankle and Kyle smashed the ball into the corner of the net.  This goal shocked Beith into action and they went all out for the equaliser and got it in the twenty-fifth minute when a combined move by Newman and Balmer ended with Newman scoring.
     Winton were doing a lot of running but most of it was wasted effort.
  In the forty-third minute Beith took the lead with a good goal.  Hainey took a free kick 20 yards out and placed the ball for Bill Millar to shoot home.  Early in the second half Craik had a great save from a Kerr shot and Balmer hit the post in the fifteenth minute but again the defenders were on top and most of the play was in midfield.  In the eighty-fifth minute a Balmer cross was headed home by Bill Millar.

          Beith's trialist forward beats Armstrong for the Bellesdale Park side's opening goal
The teams were:

Beith - Craik; Boyd and Shields; McVittie, Holloran and Hainey; Reid, Balmer, W Millar, I Miller and Newman.
Winton Rovers - Armstrong; Hay and Anderson; Young, O’Sullivan and Sanderson; Kerr, Scullion, McIntyre, Kyle and Rowan.
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 31 March 1972

Scorers:  Winton – Quinn 3, Cardno 10, Hood 38; Hurlford – McColl 5, Malone 50
Trailing by three goals from the first leg of this Ayrshire Regional League Cup quarter-final (on 23 September 1972), Winton gave Hurlford a real fight for their money and turned in their best performance for a while.  At the end of the match, one could not help feeling that if Winton had not played so poorly at Hurlford, they might have made the semi-finals.  Winton went at the League Cup holders from the whistle and were rewarded after only three minutes when Quinn netted.  Despite having such a commanding lead from the first leg, Hurlford were determined not to be steam-rollered and proved this two minutes later when McColl put them back on level terms.  This came as a shock to Winton who had been pressing most of the time but through sheer persistence, they regained the lead when they scored a second after ten minutes.  Quinn rounded three defenders out on the right wing before crossing to Cardno who coolly slotted the ball home.
     After this opening period, most of the attacking was done by Winton and it was no surprise when they went further ahead in the thirty-eighth minute, Hood this time finishing off good work by Quinn.
  There was no further scoring in a very exciting first half although five minutes from the interval, Whyte, Hurlford’s young keeper, who is attracting so much senior attention, made the save of the match at point-blank range from Hood.  Five minutes into the second half, Malone pulled one back for Hurlford and Winton’s hopes crashed.  The rest of the half followed the pattern set by the first with both teams coming close on many occasions but neither really dominating play.
     Three times, early in the half, Winton missed chances which could have taken them through to the next round.
  Although they lost on aggregate, Winton can take heart from a very commendable performance against very good opposition and had they taken their chances, they would be sitting high and dry in the semi-finals of the League Cup.  Best for Winton were Cardno, Sanderson, Hood and Quinn who got through a mountain of work up front.  Best for Hurlford were McColl, Biggar and centre-half, Frew.

The teams were:

Winton Rovers – Dick; Baillie and Welsh; Sanderson, Smith and Dalling; Tracey, Hood, Quinn, Cardno and Dickson.
Hurlford – Whyte; Patterson and Wilson; Wood, Frew and Roseweir; Weames, McColl, Biggar, Scott and Malone.
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 29 September 1972

Winton Rovers, who reached the semi-final of the Scottish Junior Cup two seasons ago but have done nothing since, rediscovered their cup fighting spirit at Tinto Park on Saturday (4 November 1972).  The Ardrossan club, playing with a determination that has been missing for the past season, fully deserved their draw and now face the replay at Winton Park tomorrow, Saturday, confident of a place in the second round draw.  Despite being under almost constant pressure from Benburb, Rovers kept their cool to blunt the Central League side's attack and Rovers achieved this shock result despite losing striker Johnny Quinn who was injured after only twenty-five minutes and replaced by Gordon McIntyre.
     Star of the Winton side was undoubtedly keeper Ian Dick.
  The ex-Kilmarnock player had an inspired game and brought off some spectacular saves which broke the hearts of the home side.  Benburb's main danger man, in their policy of all-out attack, was former Kilbirnie star Jim Inglis, who hit a shot against the bar with Dick beaten.  In the opening stages, Bens got several good chances to open the scoring.  In the thirteenth minute, Docherty first timed wildly over the bar.  Inglis did little better when he shot against Dick from ten yards then, in the twenty-seventh minute, Rovers received a blow when Quinn went off suffering from a shoulder injury.  It looked like this would unsettle Winton, but they continued to defend with determination and skill.  Bens looked dangerous but Winton's defence, ably marshalled by lan Welsh, were not going to be any push-overs.  The closest thing yet to a goal came near the end of the first half when Inglis slammed the ball against the bar and the rebound was scrambled clear.  Favourites Bens were being frustrated by Winton's well-planned defence although just before the interval Steele sent a header dangerously close.
     The second half followed the same pattern with Winton content to rely on their solid defence and Bens becoming more concerned as the expected goal-rush failed to materialise.
  Possibly the best chance of the match was passed up after sixty minutes when Steele side-footed the ball wide when he should have done better.  After this, despite a desperate last-ditch attempt by the home side, it was clear that Winton had gained the draw they had planned for.  It was a victory for planning over exuberance.
     The teams were:

Benburb – McNeil, Connelly, Leckie, Brian, Docherty, Caldwell, Jackson, Ryan, Inglis, Steele and Thomson.
Winton Rovers – Dick, Hay, Baillie, Sanderson, Welsh, McColl, Quinn, Hood, Dickson, Cardno and Tracey.
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 10 November 1972

     Scorers: Winton - Cardno (32), Tracy (85); Benburb - McKimm (23)
Three years have elapsed since the loud cheers, which were heard at 4.10pm on Saturday (11 November 1972) at Winton Park, last echoed in the ears of an Ardrossan team.  A fitting tribute to Rovers, who survived another ninety minutes of buffeting from both a strong, aggressive team and driving rain hail and icy wind, would be to draw a comparison with the performances of the Winton team which reached the Scottish semi-finals (in 1971).  Rovers made no pretence at trying to match Benburb in midfield and in attacking verve.  This was sensible, for the Govan side was too big and physical for the lightweight Ardrossan team.
     As it was, Bens bulldozed their way towards Ian Dick and Winton had to save the game in defence.
  Only Dalling, Dickson and injured Johnny Quinn stayed upfield, awaiting the regular breaks from midfield but Winton were magnificent in defence.  Ian Welsh marshalled the back-row with Hay, Baillie and Sanderson shadowing the dangerous Benburb forwards.  Hood, McColl and Cardno fought like tigers in stemming the flow of Bens' drive from midfield as well as attempting to push into attack.  Up front, Dalling hustled and bustled for ninety minutes but lacked support as Dickson and Quinn, with an injured arm, could not get going in the drenched conditions.
     Although Rovers came back from behind to level the score, their ace was the cheeky John Tracy who came on the second half to add life to the forward line and snatched the winning goal in the dying minutes.
  Benburb were an excellent team, however, and no doubt must have felt very disappointed at losing.  From the start they threw everything at Winton and won most of the play in midfield but despite their almost constant barrage, the Rovers players stuck stubbornly to their task of avoiding losing goals and hoping for a break.  Most of Bens’ scoring efforts were initially confined to outside the penalty area due to Rovers shadow methods and Dick was in fine form with competent handling and good judgement.  McKimm, a speedy striker who missed the first match, got the first real chance when Welsh slipped on the greasy surface but he struck the ball wide.
     However, in the twenty-third minute, Bens deservedly went ahead.
  A long ball saw McKimm outpace the defence, who claimed offside, and he easily lobbed into the net over Dick's head.  Soon after, the rain lashed the players and the home support must have thought that the strong Glasgow team would run riot.  Davie Cardno showed that anything could happen in a cup-tie, however, when he took a corner and the tall goalkeeper did well to punch over the bar.  It was Cardno who delivered a body blow in the thirty-second minute.  From a seemingly hopeless position on the right wing, he darted into the penalty area, dribbled around three defenders and, when it looked as though the ball was over-run, he drove it into the roof of the net.  This was a goal fit to win any cup-tie.
     Benburb immediately stormed into action but McKimm's aggressive play earned him a booking for felling Welsh.
  At this stage, a hailstorm raged and Rovers were under siege.  On half time, Ryan beat Dick with a diving header but the ball sneaked past the post.  The second half was a continuation of Winton defending solidly but it was evident that Bens were becoming frustrated at their lack of success.  Dick kept his goal safe with alert goalkeeping.  After ten minutes, Quinn was substituted by Tracy who proceeded to make trouble for the Benburb defence on the right.  He also started moves from midfield, combining with Hay and Hood.  As the game progressed and the visitors pushed more players upfield, Winton found gaps.  The hard-working Dalling dispossessed keeper McNeil and crossed to Dickson but two defenders saved the situation.
     At ten minutes past four, the Ardrossan supporters were rewarded for their bravery in facing the elements to cheer on their courageous team.
  Davie Cardno was again involved in the build-up.  He and Billy Dickson combined on the left and Cardno centred.  As usual, Dalling hustled around the ball to Tracy who sent a low shot goalwards and despite efforts by Docherty on the goal-line, the goalkeeper and left back landed in the rigging.  As Benburb again made inroads towards Ian Dick, their half back Caldwell fouled Hay and was booked.  Winton had the best goalscoring chance, however, when Dalling and Tracy combined but a desperate last-gasp tackle deflected Tracy's shot.
     The teams were:
Winton Rovers – Dick, Hay, Bale, Sanderson, Welsh, McColl, Quinn, Hood, Dalling, Cardno and Dickson.
Benburb – McNeil, Connelly, Leckie, Bryers, Docherty, Caldwell, Jackson, Inglis, McKimm, Ryan and Thomson.
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 17 November 1972

  Winton – Newman 8, Hood 41, Trialist 89; Saltcoats – Young 8, Davis 73

Hurrah for Winton Rovers!
  The only team left in the league without a win have finally done it by overcoming local rivals Saltcoats Vics in a game (on 9 December 1972) that didn’t really have the sparkle of a derby match.  Defeat for Saltcoats came in almost the last minute of the game.  Winton’s trialist inside-forward was the hero when he turned a Billy Hood cross into the net.  For the match, Winton made a number of changes.  In goal, they had a local boy and up front they had trialists at centre- and inside- forward.
     It wasn’t long before the visitors felt the full effect of Winton’s new strikers.
  In eight minutes, Davey Cardno gathered the ball out on the left wing and crossed to the far post where the new centre was waiting to head the ball home.  One minute later, the home side almost got another when a shot from Cardno went just wide but it was not a one-sided affair and the game was, almost immediately, brought back to square one.  Saltcoats wing-half Davis took the ball to the bye-line before cutting it back to Young who shot home.  Playing with a strong wind at their backs in the first half, Winton should have been in a more commanding position but, to be fair, it was Saltcoats who were the stronger side although they just could not put the ball in the net.  Then the forty-first minute, rather against the run of play, Winton went back in front.  Hood scored from a quick move involving Cardno, Quinn and the new inside-forward.  It all happened so quickly that the Saltcoats defence did not know what had hit them.
     For most of the first half, Winton’s star man was their new inside-forward and he showed his class after eight minutes of the second half.
  He gathered the ball thirty-five yards out, brushed off tackle after tackle until be only had the keeper to beat but unfortunately for him, Morrison made a tremendous save and the danger was cleared.  The second period was, on the whole, controlled by the visitors but Winton were never down and out.  Winton midfield man, John McColl, was booked in the sixty-seventh minute for a series of nasty tackles but it was never a rough match.  It took Saltcoats until the seventy-third minute to get back on level terms.  Nicol showed some neat ball control out on the right before chipping to the near post for Davis to head home.
     For the last seventeen minutes, both teams went all out for the winner and it took sixteen minutes before the game was decided with the last-gasp goal by the trialist centre.
  Poor Saltcoats – beaten in the West of Scotland and Scottish Cups and now in the league by Winton Rovers.  Nothing seems to be going right but wilt a little confidence, they will get back on the winning trail.  Best players for the visitors were Hepburn, McGhee and Young.  Winton, on the other hand, look as though they have finally found a couple of strikers and maybe now we will see them move off the bottom of the league.  Their best players were skipper Hay, Hood and Newman at inside forward who was outstanding.
     The teams were:

Winton Rovers – Newman; Hay, Baillie, Sanderson, Welsh, McColl, Quinn, Hood, Newman, Newman and Cardo.
Saltcoats Victoria – Morrison; Hepburn, McConnachie, McGhee, Craig, Davis, Kennedy, Young, Nicol, Clarke and Chester.
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 15 December 1972


There were few incidents in this match to warm the hearts of spectators on a cold, raw afternoon (on 23 December 1972).
  In the early stages, however, both goalkeepers showed that they had their eye in, firstly when Campbell had a brilliant save from Leck and then, at the other end, when Paton had to receive attention after saving from Dickson.  Buffs’ next move ended with Smillie whacking one just past the post while in the next Winton raid, Paton was once again in the wars in saving from Hood.  Dickson had the ball in the net for Winton in the twenty-second minute but he was offside.  Denholm and Leck then had good tries for Buffs before the Kilwinning side also had a goal disallowed after Thomson netted a Denholm cross.
     One minute later, in the thirty-first minute, Buffs opened the scoring when Denholm converted a Sneddon cross.
  A great deal of fruitless play between the eighteen yard areas followed Buffs’ goal and the next worthwhile scoring attempt came from Winton a minute before the interval when Paton somehow stopped a Hood drive at the base of the post.  There was a sensational announcement from Buffs’ dressing room at half-time when it was learned that John Smillie would be taking over in goal from Mike Paton who was suffering from concussion.  John Lee took over Smillie’s outfield position.  The home side substituted Eddie Margison at full-back for Baillie.  John Smillie’s first job as goalkeeper was to retrieve the ball from the back of the net in the first minute of the second half after he was beaten by a Dave Cardno drive.  The goal jerked Buffs into action and three minutes later, a tremendous drive from Leck, from about thirty yards, crashed off the bar and landed at Thomson’s feet.  The inside-forward, however, missed a sitter.
     Buffs regained the lead in the fifty-first minute when Denholm picked up a Boyd pass to drive the ball past Campbell, the sheer pace of the ball beating the goalkeeper as he almost managed to smother it.
  It was nearly all Buffs now.  Hood, however, reminded them that Winton were still in the game when he forced Smillie to make a fine save.  In an effort to swing the game, Winton substituted Quinn for Dickson and it nearly paid off when Smillie had a great save form a Lyons cross.  In the sixtieth minute, Buffs went further ahead through an own goal.  Denholm, Welsh and Campbell all went for a Sneddon cross and it was deflected past Campbell by his own centre-half.  Buffs kept up the pressure but it was not until the seventy-seventh minute that they came near scoring again when an Ellis drive whisked just over the bar.  Two minutes later, Campbell denied Denholm his hat-trick when he pulled off a great save.
     The match then petered out with the visitors well in command although Hood brought out another first-class save from Smillie with only minutes remaining.
  Even without Ian Dick, who was playing a trial for Albion Rovers, Winton did little to suggest that they can confidently look forward to their trip to Linlithgow tomorrow.  No doubt they that the famous Winton Scottish Cup form will re-emerge.  Their best players were McColl, Sanderson, Hood and Campbell.  Buffs will be pleased with the result.  They did not play as well as they had done recently but still presented Winton with too many problems.  The best players for the visitors were Sneddon, Leck, Denholm and goalkeepers Paton and Smillie.  Indeed, all three goalkeepers were a credit to their respective teams.

     The teams were:

Winton Rovers – Campbell; Baillie, McColl, Sanderson, Welsh, Tracey, Dickson, Hood, Lyons, Coughlan and Cardno.
Kilwinning Rangers – Paton; J Hands, Haswell, Smillie, McNab, Ellis, Boyd, Thomson, Denholm, Leck and Sneddon.
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 29 December 1972